Mailbox post from Hades

I'm finally getting around to installing the new locking mailbox, to thwart the theives and villians out there. The old post is a monster, at least 3/16ths thick-walled, 3-inch diameter steel pipe set into deep concrete. Too low for USPS, and listing to port (I wonder how the car that may have hit it fared), so I'll erect another in it's place. There's no electricity down by the road, so I pull out my little hacksaw, and start cutting. No way is this gonna do it, once I found out the thickness. So, if I can straighten it up, I'd use the original pipe, cut off at ground level, and slide the new post base into the old pipe. Excavated down to the concrete, and did my best to loosen up the surrounding soil. Hooked up a come-along to a nearby tree, and put tension on the thing. More tension. More. This is getting kinda scary... Now I'm thinking "rent a gas powered cut-off saw", or a tubing cutter like the one Cool Hand Luke used to cut the heads off of parking meters. But before I lay out my wife's money, I wondered what all y'all might have to say on this subject, and if you had any advice/experiences you'd share. Tom
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OA cutting torch would have that puppy cut flush with ground level right now, so that's the first recommendation. The come-along could end up with someone getting hurt. Both the cutoff saw and tubing cutter will need some excavation to allow the tool to cut low enough. That may be a problem depending on how close to the road it is. If you see a crew with a backhoe available (a large one) you have two options: pull it out straight up or lean it back up straight with the bucket.
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if you have or can borrow a portable generator, you could use a grinder or reciprocating saw instead of your hacksaw. As for concrete and heavy wall tubing - be careful, there are rules/regulations against doing that in a lot of places. If you live in a climate where snow plows are common, damage to the snow plow caused by your mailbox will be charged to you if you have a non-approved mailbox support. I'm not saying not to do it, but check up on what you might be or not be liable for if someone hits your monster post.
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The new post will be of the break-away variety, of course. No snowplows here in the Sonoran desert, but plenty of careless drivers, always taking out something. Good suggestions so far, thanks Louie and IBM5081. Tom
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What about sand plows? They face the same risks.

Remove NOPSAM to email me. Please let me know if you have posted also.
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mm wrote: What about sand plows? They face the same risks. Well, I didn't think about them. But they're usually not out in a blinding sandstorm! Tom
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Last time I did it, it was probably 15 or 20 minutes of work per cut on that size pipe with a hacksaw. And I didn't have to lay down on the ground to do it (I could move the pipe to where it was convenient).
A sawzall with a fine-toothed blade does it in like 40 seconds, with a lot less of the feeling that "I've been moving my arm back and forth for twenty minutes and getting nothing done." Any chacne of a gas-powered sawzall or a really long extension cord?
Tim.
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Tim wrote:Last time I did it, it was probably 15 or 20 minutes of work per cut on

You're a better man than I. There is a neighbor up on the hill overlooking the road, about 350 feet away(really, really long extension cord(s)!) But another neighbor does have a cutting torch I may be able to borrow later on tonight or tomorrow. Thanks, Tim. Tom
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How about an inverter? Twelve volt to 120 volt and plugs into the cigarette lighter in your car.
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"How about an inverter? Twelve volt to 120 volt and plugs into the cigarette lighter in your car. "
30 amps max for cigarette lighter times 12 volts = 360 watts. My sawzall has a much bigger motor than that. Your heavy duty inverter will need wired directly to the battery. Maybe get 1500 watt inverter.
Stretch
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I have to agree with IBM5081 about the cutting torch.
Faced with the same problem and no torch, I used a compressor and a cutoff wheel. Each time the air pressure would run low, I'd drag the compressor back to the house and charge it up.
Steep driveway and big compressor made for good exercise!
-rev
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Yet another option: Attach come-along to top of pipe, and "take a strain" on it. Apply heat with torch to bottom of pipe. Heat and winch until it points up. Cut to length desired with rented abrasive-disc cut-off saw. Insert new stuff, with break-away section, or whatever, desired.
To reuse mooring, you gotta straighten some of it.
HTH, J
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Maybe you can rent some dynamite?
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Perhaps you can rent some dynamite?
Seriously tho... The Rev.'s suggestion of an air compressor and some leg work is the sort of thing I've done myself. It does get the job done. Till you discover that the pipe has concrete IN it as well.
In that case, you just have to put another post in next to it.
Good luck.
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Phaeton wrote: Seriously tho... The Rev.'s suggestion of an air compressor and some leg work is the sort of thing I've done myself. It does get the job done. Till you discover that the pipe has concrete IN it as well. I think the purchase of a pneumatic tool would show the need to buy a bigger compressor. All good suggestions, and the one I'm wondering about is the one "J" brought up. Do you think a cheap propane torch would heat it up enough to start bending? Tom
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tom wrote:

I'd be extremely hesitant to use a comealong on this pipe. You'd be storing up a huge amount of strain energy in the process, and if something suddenly gives, you could get yourself killed.
Torch, saw, or abandon the old pole for a new location, but leave the comealong alone.
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Yellowbird wrote:"I'd be extremely hesitant to use a comealong on this pipe." Call me chicken. I picked up on the danger factor pretty early with the come-along, and played it safe so far. I may not need too much strain if this propane torch idea has merit. Tom
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tom wrote:

If you can soften it enough, you might as well bend it by inserting a cheater bar, or by pounding it where you want with a hammer.
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A propane torch wouldn't stand a chance on a steel pipe. Even an acetylene torch couldn't heat up a big pipe enough to bend. It could cut it, though.
-rev
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use pinch bar on concrete to loosen the entire mess, its tilted so its already somewhat loose.
pinch bar is long 6 foot or so heavy solid steel bar, see home depot
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